Bubble Banter opens with 41 teams on the bubble

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Bubble Banter highlights the teams we believe are on the NCAA Bubble. If a team isn’t listed, they aren’t a bubble team at the time of the update. 

An amazing 41 teams begin the countdown as bubble teams.  Even more could have listed, and teams will come and go over the next few weeks.  To be eligible for consideration, a team had to be within the Top 100 of the RPI, and be close enough to the cutline to warrant serious consideration.  A team like South Carolina, for example, has two quality wins, but fell to No. 105 in the RPI after the loss to Auburn.  Thus, we did not include USC in this update as no team with an RPI rating that high has ever been selected as an at-large candidate.

Note:  RPI and SOS data is credited to CollegeRPI.com.  Follow along at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 1

Automatic Bids (31): None decided | Total Spots (68): Number of total teams in the Field.

  • Projected Locks (11): Teams who project to have secured a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament witihout a major collapse. Some of these projected locks may become automatic qualifiers should they win their conference tournament.
  • Should Be In (17): While not yet locks, these are teams in good position to receive an at-large bid.
  • Bubble: (41): Teams projected to be at or near the cutline for being selected as at-large candidates.
  • Spots available (15): Number of available openings for the bracket based on spots reserved for automatic qualifiers, projected locks, and teams projected as Should Be In at this update.

Below is a conference breakdown of the bubble picture.

Atlantic 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Temple, Xavier | Bubble: Duquesne, Rhode Island, Richmond
  • Duquesne (14-5) | RPI: 76 | SOS: 144 | – Despite a poor RPI, Duquesne opens Bubble Banter tied with Xavier atop the A-10 – including a win over Temple. Nothing to report in the non-conference season, and the Dukes’ overall SOS is a concern. Still, we can’t ignore a team that’s 7-0 in the No. 8-rated conference.
  • Rhode Island (13-8) | RPI: 82 | SOS: 95 | – Like a lot of teams, the Rams have been a mixed bag. Good wins include Boston College, at Richmond, and vs. Charleston. There’s also the losses to Quinnipiac and UIC, and a blowout loss at Xaver. URI must vault to the top of the A-10 standings.
  • Richmond (16-6) | RPI: 60 | SOS: 90 | – Spiders are hoping the non-conference win over Purdue holds a lot of weight. Richmond also won at Seton Hall and beat VCU. The lopsided home loss to Xavier is troubling and puts the Spiders two games back of the Muskateers.
ACC
Locks: Duke | Should Be In: North Carolina | Bubble: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech
  • Boston College (14-7) | RPI: 38 | SOS: 26 | – The Eagles are an RPI oddity: Numbers are good, but the overall resume suggests work ahead. BC’s win over Texas Am early is notable, as was a good road win at Maryland to open ACC play. At the same time, BC has lost (at home) to two Ivy League schools and has dropped 3 of its past 4 games.
  • Clemson (15-6) | RPI: 69 | SOS: 100 | The Tigers make the bubble with a 4-3 ACC mark, but other than home wins over Florida State and Miami, the resume is light. Clemson has non-league losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. It’ll take a strong month for the Tigers to be a serious at-large contender.
  • Florida State (15-6) | RPI: 50 | SOS: 75 | – Seminoles were only be a week away from moving into Should Be In status before another lopsided road loss – this time to Clemson. Baylor is their best non-ACC win, and the Bears have struggled. While the loss at Auburn was probably a fluke, it’s an example of inconsistent play. FSU also lost to a struggling Butler team in Hawaii. The win over Duke is big, but not enough by itself.
  • Maryland (14-7) | RPI: 70 | SOS: 63 | – Can the Terps make another February run? That’s the question. Other than an early win at Penn Sate, Maryland is void of anything out-of-conference, and the ACC is down. The closing schedule is favorable, but it will take a good finish for the Terps to contend. Game with Duke (at home) is huge.
  • Virginia Tech (14-6) | RPI: 68 | SOS: 80 | – Yet again the Hokies find themselves on the bubble, and an underwhelming non-conference profile is the biggest reason. Credit VT with playing a much better schedule, the Hokies just failed to win many of the games – the best is over fellow bubble-dweller Oklahoma State. It also hurts that VT sees Duke, North Carolina, and FSU only once in league play. Must stay with the contenders.
BIG EAST
Locks: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova | Should Be In: Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville,West Virginia | Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette, St. John’s
  • Cincinnati (18-4) | RPI: 46 | SOS: 128 | – As we’ve mentioned before, the Bearcats’ dreadful non-conference SOS (No. 289) leaves UC with little margin for error in the Big East. Last week’s road win at St. John’s was huge because Cincy has won most of its games at home. The closing stretch will be a challenge and it’s important for UC to stay above the fray.
  • Marquette (14-8) | RPI: 59 | SOS: 32 | – Marquette may be better than its record, but the Golden Eagles best wins have been at home, and a tough three-game road stretch is just on the horizon. Wins over Notre Dame and West Virginia help, and the Eagles’ worst loss is an early-neutral court game vs. Gonzaga. The rest have been to Top 50 RPI teams.
  • St. John’s (12-8) | RPI: 23 | SOS: 3 | – The Red Storm has some very good wins – none better than Sunday’s dominating win over Duke. There’s also a roadie at West Virgina. SJU owns the nation’s No. 3 rated overall SOS. That will help. The question is … can St. John’s win enough games down the stretch? A cross-country road trip to UCLA won’t be easy.
BIG 10
Locks: Ohio State | Should Be In: Purdue, Wisconsin, Minnesota | Bubble: Illinois, Michigan State Penn State
  • Illinois (14-7) | RPI: 39 | SOS: 24 | The Illini have lost 4 of 5 games which included dropping a second-half lead vs. Ohio State and an ugly effort at Indiana. The upcoming schedule is favorable for a rebound, but UI is at a critical juncture. Good wins include N. Carolina and Wisconsin, along with Michigan State. The loss at UIC is a sore point.
  • Michigan State (12-8) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 5 | It’s worth noting that the Spartans have played the nation’s No. 5 schedule and No. 18 non-conference schedule. MSU has also avoided any bad RPI losses – even though the home loss to Michigan was a bit shocking. With Korie Lucious dismissed for the season, the Spartans need to re-prove they are an NCAA team without him. Much like Illinois, MSU needs to start winning again.
  • Penn State (12-8) | RPI: 44 | SOS: 6 | – The Nittany Lions have been a tough out in the Big 10 and have rebounded nicely from a lackluster non-conference effort that included a home loss to Maine. Good wins include Michigan State, Illinois, and Wisconsin – at home. While close, PSU has yet to win a meaningful road game. That may have to change. The closing stretch is tough, but offers PSU some opportunities.
BIG 12
Locks: Kansas, Texas | Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM | Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State
  • Baylor (14-6) | RPI: 81 | SOS: 82 | – What the Bears have done is be very average. Nothing stands out to separate Baylor from any number of other teams. Best wins are Oklahoma State and Colorado at home. Neither are certain NCAA teams. Out of conference, the Bears failed to win a Top 100 RPI game and their non-league SOS ranks No. 236. No one questions the Bears’ talent, it’s whether they can win enought Big 12 games at this point.
  • Colorado (13-8) | RPI: 94 | SOS: 114 | – In back-to-back games, the Buffaloes beat Missouri at home and K-State on the road. Since, Colorado has lost four of five and four straight – including games at Nebraska and Oklahoma. A non-league win over Colorado State is notable, but overall the Buffs non-conference SOS ranks No. 307. That spells trouble. Colorado has remaining chances to win big games, they’ll need as many as they can get.
  • Kansas State (13-8) | RPI: 41 | SOS: 15 | – The Wildcats opened the season No. 3 in national polls. Ever since, there have been more questions than answers. First, K-State needs to improve its 2-5 mark in the Big 12. Next, they need to beat a Top 50 RPI opponent – KSU is currently 0-6 vs. such teams. Other than that, the power numbers are workable. More than anything, K-State needs to start winning games, they’ve dropped 5 of 7.
  • Oklahoma State (14-7) | RPI: 58 | SOS: 64 | – Cowboys, like K-State are 2-5 now in league play, so compiling wins is most important. Winning a meaningful game away from home would help too as OSU is 2-5 in true road games. Best wins are Kansas State and Missouri State at home. Best non-league win is probably Alabama. Against the Top 100, OSU is 2-6. The recent loss at Texas Tech speaks to the Cowboys’ trouble on the road. Oklahoma State also has head-to-head losses against several other bubble teams (Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor).
MOUNTAIN WEST
Locks: BYU, San Diego State | Should Be In: UNLV | Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
  • Colorado State (14-6) | RPI: 49 | SOS: 58 | – At 5-2 in the Mountain West, Colorado State is certainly in the at-large discussion. Solid win at UNLV is a high point, but there are also losses to Hampton and Sam Houston. Inconsistency is a recurring theme. Overall, good wins are still lacking as CSU is 1-2 vs. Top 50 teams. Non-conference wins include So. Mississippi and Ole Miss, but neither of those are NCAA wins at this point. CSU will need to beat San Diego State and or BYU to be a realistic contender.
  • New Mexico (14-7) | RPI: 63 | SOS: 77 | – While the season hasn’t gone as planned, beating BYU at The Pit keeps the Lobos’ NCAA hopes alive. They’ve also beaten Colorado State and Colorado at home. Troubling road losses are to Utah and Wyoming. UNM’s non-conference profile is light, so it’s going to take a strong finish in the Mountain West, but the overall bubble picture is very weak at this point, so who knows. Three of the next four are away from home.
PAC 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Washington | Bubble: Arizona, California, Washington State, UCLA
  • Arizona (18-4) | RPI: 21 | SOS: 44 | – The Wildcats have posted a stellar record but are just 1-3 vs. Top 50 teams (beating UCLA at home). There’s nothing from the non-conference resume helping as the best win is Oklahoma. UA also has an ugly loss at Oregon State. Right now, Arizona would make the field, but it’s too early to move them off the bubble. They need to continue to stay at the top of the Pac-10 standings. A tricky three-game road stretch is next.
  • California (12-9) | RPI: 57 | SOS: 14 | – A strong SOS is keeping Cal in the mix as is a 5-4 league mark. That said, the Bears’ lone Top 50 win is at home vs. Temple, and Cal is 1-7 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. That mark will have to improve. Cal is also 8-9 vs. the Top 200 which usually means a no-go for the NCAAs. Next four games are critical.
  • Washington State (15-6) | RPI: 64 | SOS: 84 | – Beating Washington at home Sunday night kept WSU in the current bracket. It was the Cougars’ first Top 50 win (1-4). Other notable wins are Baylor and Gonzaga, but those are bubble teams at this point, too. A 3-3 road mark is acceptable, but WSU needs to up its 5-4 mark in league play. The Pac-10 isn’t deep and WSU needs to finish in the top three to feel safe.
  • UCLA (14-7) | RPI: 47 | SOS: 31 | – The Bruins have a good home win over BYU in their pocket, but that’s only going to last so long. At 6-3 in the league, UCLA needs to stay near the top of the heap. RPI and SOS numbers are good, but UCLA is just 1-4 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and 3-7 vs. Top 100 teams. Neither suggests they’ve done enough. A home date with St. John’s is a big opportunity to post another solid non-conference win.
SEC
Locks: Kentucky | Should Be In: Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt | Bubble: Georgia
  • Georgia (14-6) | RPI: 43 | SOS: 41| – The Bulldogs are talented enough to make the NCAAs, but can they win enough SEC games? An early victory over Kentucky helps, as does a win over UAB – another bubble team. Still, with a 2-6 mark vs. Top 50 teams, Georgia needs to start winning close games. All of the Bulldogs losses have been to teams ranked in the Top 40 of the RPI, so that’s a plus. The schedule is favorable over the next two weeks. There’s also a home game with Xavier that could help.
BEST OF THE REST
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Butler, Cleveland State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, UAB, Utah State
  • Butler (13-8) | RPI: 42 | SOS: 28 | – The NCAA runner-ups have struggled much of the season with the exception of the Diamond Head Classic where the Bulldogs beat Florida State and Washington State. Within the Horizon, BU has a good win over Cleveland State but has fallen off the pace with 3 sub-100 losses, including being swept by Milwaukee. Butler missed chances with Duke, Xavier, and Louisville. Without a lot of wins down the stretch, it’ll be dicey if the Bulldogs fade in the Horizon tournament.
  • Cleveland State (18-3) | RPI: 29 | SOS: 141 | – CSU best wins are Kent State and Wright State – having lost to both Butler and Valparaiso in the Horizon. With an 0-2 mark vs. Top 50 teams, CSU really needs to beat Butler and Valpo at home down the stretch. An outright Horizon title will help, but may not be enough given the so-so SOS numbers.
  • Missouri State (17-5) | RPI: 45 | SOS: 111 | – Failing to win a meaningful non-conference game and a non-league SOS of No. 225 hurts the Bears’ chances. A clear Missouri Valley title would be a huge benefit. MSU does have a win at Wichita State and probably needs to sweep the Shockers. This is a good team that’s light on quality wins.
  • Northern Iowa (16-6) | RPI: 51 | SOS: 108 | – With MVC road wins at Missouri State and Wichita State, we have to include the Panthers. They’ve also beaten fellow bubbler New Mexico. UNI has four sub-100 losses, however, and needs to at least tie for the MVC title to have a realistic chance. The BracketBuster with George Mason is a must-get.
  • Wichita State (17-4) | RPI: 48 | SOS: 109 | – The Shockers let a second-half lead slip away against UConn in Maui and WSU has yet to win a Top 50 RPI game (0-3). In fact, WSU is 0-4 vs. Top 100 teams. A 5-1 record in true road games and being tied atop the MVC standings is keeping WSU on the cutline. That, and no bad losses – something we can’t say about a lot of teams. The BracketBuster matchup with VCU looms large.
  • Memphis (16-5) | RPI: 35 | SOS: 47 | – Somebody has to win Conference USA, and the Tigers are playing better. Winning at UAB helps, although an early tally over Miami-FL is fading some. There’s a bad loss at SMU and a 1-3 mark vs. Top 50 teams. The plus is 5 Top 100 wins, however. It doesn’t help that Memphis was largely non-competitive in losses to Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgetown. Upcoming trip to Gonzaga could be telling.
  • UAB (15-5) | RPI: 37 | SOS: 74 | – The Blazers are a solid team that lacks a marquee win. They are 0-3 vs. Top 50 teams (Duke, Memphis, Georgia). UAB’s best win is probably VCU at home. There’s also losses at Tulsa and Arizona State. Rematch at Memphis is huge as the Blazers can stay at the top of the C-USA standings.
  • Southern Mississippi (14-5) | RPI: 67 | SOS: 140 | – With just two Top 100 wins, So. Miss has to keep plugging along. They can’t afford many more conference losses. A non-conference SOS ranked No. 256 won’t help.
  • UTEP (16-5) | RPI: 62 | SOS: 131 | – Of UTEP’s 16 D-I wins, 14 are to teams ranked outside the Top 100 of the RPI. The best is an early win over Michigan. Add in three sub-100 losses and the Miners are here as a fringe candidate with a 5-2 C-USA mark. Probably have to win the C-USA title for serious consideration.
  • Old Dominion (17-5) | RPI: 31 | SOS: 51 | – Monarchs have a pretty good profile if they can stay at the top of the Colonial standings. Solid non-conference wins include Xavier, Richmond and Clemson. ODU also played Georgetown to within three points. A 7-4 mark vs. Top 100 teams helps. The BracketBuster with Cleveland State could be helpful.
  • VCU (18-5) | RPI: 53 | SOS: 153 | – The Rams currently lead the CAA and may need to stay there to make the Dance. Talented, VCU has a good neutral court win over UCLA. There’s a good loss to Tennessee, but also a miscue at Georgia State. Rematches with ODU and Geo Mason at home are huge, as is a BracketBuster with Wichita State.
  • George Mason (17-5) | RPI: 34 | SOS: 79 | – George Mason lacks a Top 50 RPI win but has won 7 straight and stands alone in second place in the CAA. It’ll take some work, but an outright CAA title could be enough to give the Patriots a fighting chance. A BracketBuster win at Northern Iowa would help, too.
  • Gonzaga (13-8) | RPI: 87 | SOS: 52 | – The Zags have fallen all the way to the bubble thanks to eight losses and a 1-5 mark vs. Top 50 RPI teams. There are some good wins – Baylor, Xavier, Marquette – that could get better. A good SOS always helps. A big issue is being two games back of St. Mary’s in the WCC. Big week for the Zags with a trip to Portland and a home date with Memphis. The losses at Santa Clara and San Francisco are hurting right now.
  • St. Mary’s (16-4) | RPI: 33 | SOS: 104 | – Winning an outright WCC title could be enough as long as St. Mary’s doesn’t lose many more games – especially to teams other than Gonzaga or maybe Portland. An early win over St. John’s helps, but the Gaels were blown out at Vanderbilt and have only the one Top 50 win. At 2-4 vs. Top 100 teams, St. Mary’s is a long way from being a lock.
  • Utah State (20-2) | RPI: 30 | SOS: 164 | – The Aggies have a lot of wins but none to teams ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI. That’s a major hurdle to overcome. USU missed against BYU and Georgetown and has only one Top 100 team left on its schedule – the BracketBuster at St. Mary’s. Lose that and USU may still have to win its conference tournament.

ACC coaches back idea of all D-I teams in 2021 NCAA tourney

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball coaches are pushing the idea of having next year’s NCAA Tournament include all eligible teams in Division I.

Numerous league schools and coaches released statements Wednesday after the coaches held their weekly call to discuss the proposal, which was first reported by Stadium. There are 357 Division I programs in the country, with NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham saying 346 of those are eligible to play in next year’s tournament.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said the ACC coaches are “united in strongly pursuing this” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of last year’s NCAA Tournament days before the field of 68 was set to be revealed. Multiple coaches said creating an everybody-gets-in format would be an incentive for schools as they create the safest conditions possible for returning to play.

“This is not a regular season,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative. Most importantly, an all-inclusive postseason tournament will allow a unique and unprecedented opportunity for every team and every student-athlete to compete for a national championship.”

Durham declined comment specifically on the proposal in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Last month, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said the Division I oversight committees for men’s and women’s basketball planned to announce by mid-September plans for whether the season and preseason practice would start on time or require a delay due to the pandemic.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said the proposal would provide flexibility during the season without mandating a number of nonconference or conference games to be played. And the league has already experienced that scheduling challenge with football and other fall sports.

The ACC announced in July that it would have each football team play 10 league games – including the addition of Notre Dame as a football member this year – and one nonconference game to be played in the home state of the member school. Those schedules were released in early August, slightly more than a month before Thursday’s UAB-Miami game kicks off the season.

“This is a time to think differently,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, adding: “After all these players have been through, what better way to reward them than the opportunity to compete in an unprecedented version of the most exciting event in sports.”

College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season

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The NBA bubble has held. So has the NHL’s double bubble. The WNBA and MLS, no leaks.

In this unprecedented landscape of sports in a pandemic world, one indisputable fact has emerged: bubbles work.

Thousands of tests, minimal to no positive COVID-19 test results.

So as the NCAA gets set announce its plans for the 2020-21 college basketball season, there are clear precedents and blueprints in place should it decide to go the bubble route.

“It’s certainly viable,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president of sports at Intersport, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, “From a basketball standpoint, I think we can follow those models.”

The college football restart has been scattershot. The season has already started, yet 53 FBS schools have the pads and helmets hanging on hooks while waiting for better pandemic news.

A much more unified plan is in place for the college basketball season.

The NCAA is hoping to start the season in late November/early December, with a vote by the Division I council expected Sept. 16.

A partnership between the Pac-12 and Quidel Corp. to potentially do daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes should help smooth a return to the court.

The question then becomes: What’s the best way to safely play basketball again?

Bubbles may be the answer.

While bubble football would be next to impossible logistically, basketball could fit nicely.

The travel parties are much smaller and college basketball already has plenty of multiple-team events, from holiday and conference tournaments to the NCAA Tournament. Add the effective safety measures of the pro leagues, find suitable sites and bubble basketball could work.

The NCAA is already looking at it, reportedly filing a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble.” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also said there have been preliminary talks for bubble basketball at the Mohegan Sun resort.

“The idea of a bubble would be a really good idea, just to isolate all the teams who want to play against each other in that bubble and keep things safe, keep away from the public and keep us in our own area where we’re able to play the game the right way and safely,” Duke sophomore forward Wendell Moore, Jr. said.

A big key will be finding the right places to bubble.

The NBA has the ideal setup at Disney World, but college basketball might be better suited to follow the NHL’s lead.

Hockey’s two bubbles – Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta – cordoned off areas enclosing the arena and several nearby hotels. All personnel entering are tested and strict protocols are in place for vendors delivering food and packages into the bubbles.

Similar bubbles for college basketball could be set up at smaller resorts, cities with arenas and hotels nearby, or Division II or III schools with arenas not being used during the pandemic.

The NCAA could set up pods of multiple nonconference teams, conference tournaments could be held in similar fashion and so could the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, basketball bubbles could pop up all over the country.

“Maybe do it for maybe a week or two at a time, playing a certain amount of games and getting retested after you come back or something like that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “It’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Pulling off a college basketball bubble, however, comes with a caveat.

NCAA players are considered students, so academics would have to be part of the equation.

Division I players are already accustomed to doing school work on the road and the majority take primarily online classes. To make the bubbles work, socially distant space would have to be carved out for the players to take their classes and study.

The programs may also have to rethink the size of their traveling parties.

“Discussions about the right amount of tutors or academic staff would need to take place,” said Starsiak, who has operated high-level sports and entertainment events for 15 years. ”

You have to look at, do we need three managers this time around? No, probably not. Do you take two and have a tutor or an academic come with us? Yeah, I think you could. I think there’s a way to kind of combine both things to have some live, in-person resources.”

The NCAA is going to do everything possible to have a basketball season.

The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament last spring and the NCAA collected $270 million in cancellation insurance instead of the $1 billion TV payout it normally gets. A second straight year without March Madness could be devastating.

Bubbles may be the way to go.

‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernestedt dies at 75

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Jernstedt, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, has died. He was 75.

The NCAA said Sunday Jernstedt died this weekend.

Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt has widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today.

“A decade after his departure from the NCAA, Tom Jernstedt’s fingertips remain visible during March Madness and the Final Four,” NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “His innovation and superb ability to develop relationships turned a basketball tournament into a three-week phenomenon that became a global event.”

A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring.

Jernstedt helped the NCAA increase its television contract from just over $1 million to more than $10 billion when he left in 2011. He served as president of USA Basketball, was a member of the College Football Selection committee and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2017.

“Tom Jernstedt was a humble and unsung steward of the game,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Under his direction, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament grew into a phenomenon that brings college basketball fans together on a global scale. He will forever be remembered as the Father of the Final Four and one of the most respected leaders in basketball.”

Jernstedt established himself as a team leader despite being a backup quarterback at Oregon from 1964-66 and went on to serve as the Ducks’ events manager. He joined the NCAA in 1972 and spent 38 years with the organization.

“Tom served as a friend and mentor to countless people in and around collegiate athletics, and I’m proud to be among that vast group of people,” Gavitt said. “His legacy within the NCAA and its membership, and his impact on the sport of college basketball, is eternal. We extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family.”

Aztecs extend Brian Dutcher’s contract 3 years through 2026

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — San Diego State basketball coach Brian Dutcher has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

Dutcher signed the deal following one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Aztecs went 30-2, won the Mountain West regular-season title and were expected to be a No. 1 or 2 seed before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They opened the season 26-0 and were the nation’s last undefeated team.

“Having spent more than 20 years at San Diego State University I understand what a special place this is,” Dutcher said in a statement Friday. “I am humbled and honored to continue to represent SDSU and Aztec Basketball as its head coach.”

Dutcher is 73-26 in three seasons, the most victories by an Aztecs coach in his first three seasons. He spent 18 seasons as Steve Fisher’s top assistant, including six as associate head coach/head coach in waiting. He took over as head coach after Fisher retired following the 2016-17 season. The Aztecs reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

Before that, he spent 10 seasons with Fisher at Michigan. In Dutcher’s first season with the Wolverines, Fisher was promoted to interim head coach on the eve of the NCAA Tournament and won the national championship.

Indiana halts all voluntary workouts

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Indiana has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.

“Our athletic program is following strict protocols during these unprecedented times and we strongly support our medical staff as we try and mitigate this issue,” men’s basketball coach Archie Miller said.